White bread. Dependable and ever present: the way I like it. For this baker a loaf of simple white wheat flour with a crisp crust and tender crumb is all a bread should be. I have my ‘others’ (as this entire blog shows) but a white loaf is my go-to. With my expectations high (justifiably so from previous Wright’s mixes) I set about making a cottage loaf…
Now you might never have seen a cottage loaf: the shape has fallen from grace. I recall bakeries piled high with them. One loaf on top of another with a hole vertically through both pieces of dough. Why? I don’t know. What I do know is that the time has come for an example BBBB. My only decision beyond this is one of ratios. How much dough for the bottom/top? Clearly 50/50 is a non starter: the loaf would surely collapse on itself. The bottom of the loaf has to be bigger than the top by some margin. A ball placed on a sturdy base and not top heavy.
Before I go further, let me make the dough according to Wright’s instructions. 320ml lukewarm water is all that is needed to make 800g super smooth dough that takes little kneading. So far so good. Resting and kneading, resting and kneading. Okay, the top/bottom is 200g/600g. A good balance, I think.
With that decision made it’s assembly time. Quite simply place the smaller dough ball on top of the larger one and… well, wait a moment. How would you describe your hands/fingers? Long and shapely or huge and gnarled shovels good for manual work? You guessed my hands immediately, didn’t you! Take your longest, cleanest finger and in a steady action push it through both pieces of dough until you touch the baking tray. Then pull your finger out.
The photo on the right shows my slashing pattern. Having never thought about doing this to a cottage loaf I hesitated. Without a genuine idea of what oven spring might do to the look of the loaf I let the yeast do its job and hope not to have offended the bread fairies. And so 40 minutes @230°c. Those baking aromas get me every time.
This cottage loaf looks good. The slashing turned out to be correct (note to self: remember the pattern) and enhances the appearance. Darker crust means better crust in this case. Thank you Wright’s. Yet another great bread mix and a happy baker.